Wine review — Zilzie and Henschke

Zilzie Regional Collection Victoria Viognier 2009 and Adelaide Hills Pinot Gris 2010 $14–$16
A couple of years back Murray-Darling based Zilzie branched out into regional varietals, including a Yarra Valley Chardonnay (reviewed last Wednesday) and these two whites. The Viognier comes from warmer parts of Victoria and the deep colour and big palate reflect this. Like most varieties, viognier comes in a spectrum of styles, in the case the warmer end, featuring generous marmalade and apricot flavours and a rich, firm texture. The pinot gris, from the cool Adelaide Hills, presents fresh, vibrant pear-like varietal flavour on a full, dry palate with a pleasantly savoury bite in the finish.

Zilzie Regional Collection Barossa Valley Shiraz 2009, Wrattonbully Merlot 2009 and Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 $14–$16
Like the Zilzie whites, these reds deliver regional varietal flavours at a fair price, though, in fairness, probably not to a level offered by the best grower-makers in the same regions. The Barossa wine offers full, plump shiraz flavours with appropriately soft tannin. The merlot appeals because it actually smells and tastes like plummy, earthy merlot – it’s medium bodied, dry and suggests Wrattonbully is a good region for this variety. The Coonawarra cabernet, too, expresses the region and variety – with leafiness and cassis and firm backbone of tannin.

Henschke Barossa Johan’s Garden 2009 $40–$44
Barossa vignerons, including Stephen and Prue Henschke, rate 2009 very highly for grenache, the backbone of this unbelievably, mouth-wateringly, delicious blend. Stephen says it’s from “old vines on the foothills of the Light Pass Range where friable red clay and loam over limestone delivers spicy, elegant, structured grenache with gorgeous silky tannins”. That’s a realistic assessment of this high-toned, aromatic, silk-smooth blend. Grenache (71 per cent) sets the tone, but mourvedre (20 per cent) adds colour depth, spicy notes and savoury, taut tannins, while shiraz fattens up the mid palate. It’s irresistible now but should evolve well for five to ten years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2011